A “victim impact statement” is a written document that lets you explain how a crime has affected your life. The judge will consider your statement when sentencing the accused. You can also ask to read your statement out loud in court.
Explaining how the crime has affected you
If you’re a victim and you reported the crime to the police, the person who committed the crime could face charges. You’ll receive a document by mail called a “victim impact statement”. The Crime Victims Assistance Centre (CAVAC) will send you this document at the beginning of the court proceedings.
The purpose of a victim impact statement is to explain how the crime affected you. You can discuss:
- The psychological consequences (e.g., feelings and emotions, relationships with other people, whether you can work or go to school).
- The physical consequences (e.g., injuries, pain, medical care).
- The financial consequences (e.g., loss of salary, medical expenses).
- Your fears concerning your safety or the safety of your loved ones.
The judge will take your statement into account when sentencing the accused. Therefore, the accused must have pleaded guilty or must have been found guilty at the end of the trial. The prosecutor and the accused (or the accused’s lawyer) will also receive a copy of your statement.
You can ask to present your statement in court
You can ask to present your statement in court and read it out loud at the sentence hearing. To do this, you must complete the form “Presentation of the victim impact statement to the court for the purpose of sentencing and notice of change of address.” The form is available on the website of the Ministère de la Justice du Québec (Justice Quebec).
If you aren’t comfortable reading your statement out loud in court, you can ask for special assistance:
- A person you trust can accompany you.
- You can read your statement from behind a screen.
- You can read your statement from a location outside the courtroom so you don’t have to see the accused.
You must mail your documents to the court
You must complete your statement and mail it to the court where the trial is taking place.
If you want to read your statement to the court, you can send the form “Presentation of the victim impact statement to the court for the purpose of sentencing and notice of change of address“ at the same time as your statement.
You must send in your statement and the form before the accused’s sentence hearing. The Crime Victims Assistance Centre (CAVAC) in your region can provide information about the court process and help you with the different steps.